The commentary from train staff about points of interest is lively and informative. The views are spectacular, too, especially while crossing several viaducts along the route, the highest being the Staircase (73 metres high). We arrive back in Christchurch around 6.10pm, tired but satisfied with the day’s adventuring.
Laws spent 30 years in the hospitality industry, much of that managing hotels, and set up MX5 Touring South Island because he wanted to be challenged again.
‘‘I bought my first one (MX5) when I was managing a hotel in Christchurch. We decided to buy one to use while we were here. They are a great car to drive.’’ Laws and his wife moved back to Christchurch permanently last year.
All up, Laws has owned nine MX5s and he has six in his MX5 Touring South Island stable. ‘‘It is a car that is incredibly reliable, parts are easy to come by and it’s built as a sports car. They are a fun car to drive. Driving one puts a smile on people’s faces.’’
His business is targeting the northern hemisphere market – ‘‘their winter is our summer’’ – and MX5 owners, in particular, offering eight, nine and 11-day tours of the South Island (tours include all meals except for one dinner), accommodation and, of course, the MX5 to drive. A support van follows the cars with luggage.
Laws sees the tours as a ‘‘bucket list type of thing’’.
‘‘For someone who has never driven a sports car, here’s their chance,’’ he says. He’s also looking at starting day trips from Christchurch: Arthur’s Pass, Akaroa, those sorts of places.
I now have one less thing to cross off my bucket list.
West Coast pause: Punakaiki beach lures MazdaMX5enthusiasts.